Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Holism in anthropology

Holism refers to ‘the whole’ the entirety. Each particular culture is and must be approached as a whole, not just as a single trait or as disconnected bundle of traits.

The idea of holism is not new in anthropology but has been integral to the discipline since E. B Taylor’s 1871 definition of culture as ‘that complex whole which includes knowledge belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

Holism in anthropology is the attempt to get the whole picture, to put it all together, and to apply knowledge from many different fields to the understanding of any aspect of behavior. Anthropology is holistic to the extent that it studies all varieties of people whenever they may be found, from East Africans pastoralists to Korean factory workers.

It is this holistic approach, more than anything else, that distinguishes anthropology from other social sciences. And it is this approach that makes an anthropological study so difficult to carry out and at the same time so rewarding.

Anthropology as a discipline was similarly comprehensive from the start, embracing biological, linguistic, material, social and cultural aspects of human life and the inter-relations between them.
Holism in anthropology

The most popular articles